downloaded but can't play

I copied or transferred (not sure of the correct word) about 700 songs from my Apple IMAC I=Tunes (latest edition) library onto my friends Sansa Fuze (8GBs) MP3 player.  My OS is Mac OS X Snow Leopard latest upgrade. My friend could only play two of the 700 songs. None of the other songs would play. But the two songs that did play seemed to be no different than the other songs he could not play. All are listed as MP3 format, or supposedly are MP3 format (maybe not?).  When I looked at my downloads folder, I could not tell the difference between the 2 songs that played and the vast majority that he could not play.  How can he play and hear the rest of the songs?

If the transferred files look like (for example) ._01-First Song.mp3–starting with period underscore–and are 0kb then you transferred the Mac finder files, which OSX uses to find the actual mp3s, rather than the mp3s themselves. They may be in folders called MACOSX within the album folder.

A real mp3 should be (very approximately) about 1MB per minute of music in size.

And the default in iTunes is m4a, which doesn’t play on the Fuze. Try converting them to .mp3 using iTunes. 

Message Edited by Black-Rectangle on 07-14-2010 10:05 PM

Most of the 700 songs he could not play were 4 MB or 5 MBs. Sounds like they were MP3 files if they were that big. Or are the other kind of files - m4a - that size also? Not sure if I should convert or how to convert the files to MP3.

Yes, m4a files are about the same size. Under Advanced in iTunes, you’ll see Create Mp3 Version. You can highlight a whole album at once.

Message Edited by Black-Rectangle on 07-15-2010 01:29 PM

I just tried that. I went into Advanced in I Tunes and tried to click on Create MP3 version. But it was grayed out, which means you cannot click on it - nothing will happen.

Let’s say I get lucky and find a way to actually click on it and create a MP3 version. Do I highlight my entire MP3 library and then create MP3 versions of all the songs? Where will the MP3 versions go? What will happen to the songs in the library that I already have that are not MP3 version? 

I just realized you need to highlight the songs first and then click on “create MP3 version”. That works. But I am still confused as to where the newly created MP3 versions of songs will be stored and where the originally non-MP3 version of songs will be stored. 

And also how will I be able to tell the difference? The songs that are not MP3 version still are listed as MP3 versions? So how will I tell the new MP3 versions from the originals that are not MP3 versions but are listed as MP3 versions?

.mp3 and .m4a are file types. They are also codecs–coder-decoders, like digital languages for music. Apple understands .m4a (or .aac, apple audio codec) by default but will also play .mp3 like everyone else. Fuze understands  .mp3 and .wma (Windows Media Audio) and some others. 

You need to look at the file extension. I don’t use Apple, but if it’s like Windows it hides them by default. There should be a way to reveal file extensions–try searching for “file extension” in Help. Then you will see the difference between Song.mp3 and Song.m4a (or it might be .aac).

If you can’t show the file extension, go by date. Your newer ones will be the ones you just converted to mp3. 

Where are they stored? Search for them and find out. 

You are right. I was able to find the folder where the songs that I downloaded are stored  by using the Help section in ITunes. In IMAC, they 

were under my user name, then Music, then I Tunes, then ITunes Music. I could arrange by date if I want to see the recent ones. Regarding file extension, I used the Help section in I Tunes and that worked. I click on a song name in ITunes. Then I click on “file” and then “get info”. It will show the file extensions at the bottom of the dialogue box. Say the name of the song is “Cherish”: It will show “Cherish.mp3” if it is a regular ITunes song I downloaded (not really MP3). 

But I was able to create MP3 songs using “Advanced” in the I Tunes toolbar. First I highlight the songs I want MP3 versions of, then click on “Advanced”, then click on “Create MP3 version”. The songs will be copied into an MP3 version. (I assume they really were but I haven’t verified that yet). The file extension for these real MP3 songs will have a “1” in it such as  “Cherish 1.mp3” (with a space before the “1”). The ITunes songs that are not really MP3 will be like “Cherish.mp3”  (and no spaces). 

Thanks so much for the advice. 

Cherish.mp3 probably was a real mp3 if iTunes is making Cherish1.mp3–another copy of the same file. Compare the file size–it’s probably the same down to the last digit. You only need one of them, so Cherish1 can go. 

It’s the ones that make new mp3s–without the 1–that were probably m4a or aac files.

Anyway, try your mp3 conversions on the Fuze to make sure they play.

Also, one more fun thing about leaving Apple’s walled garden. The ID3 tags, the electronic labels that let the Fuze find Song, Artist, Album, etc., may be in a version Apple likes but Fuze doesn’t.  The Fuze likes ID3v2.3 (and ISO-8859-1–how the alphabet is encoded). iTunes, the last time I used it, did ID3 v2.2 and Unicode instead of ISO. I never found a setting in iTunes to change that, but it may be tucked in there somewhere. 

The Fuze will read ID3v2.2, but it can get a little cranky. Anway, transfer over one of your newly converted mp3 albums and make sure it shows up under Artist, Album, etc.  If not, look for it in Folders to make sure it’s there, and then look in Unknown (under Artist or Album or Song), which is where the Fuze lists things if it doesn’t find readable tags. 

If it’s in Unknown, you’ll have to fix the ID3 tags. Don’t worry, it’s only a 3-second process. 

I’m a little confused. The original songs that I transferred  to my friend’s Scandisk Fuze player - let’s pretend sosngs such as  Cherish.mp3 - did not play on the player. So I thought I was now creating real MP3 files that would play on the Fuze since the regular ones did not. If they are the same - these new copies ("create MP3 in Itunes  Advanced section)  then the new ones (cherish 1.mp3) won’t play either. on the MP3 player. I thought the originals were not MP3s event though the extension says they are, and I thought the new ones I created in the Advanced toolbar were real MP3 songs that could be played on the Fuze MP3 Player.

Well, the only useful test is going to be: do they play?

I suspect that your iTunes held a mixture of .mp3 and other (.m4a, .aac, whatever) files. The real mp3s played on the Fuze; the others didn’t. When iTunes thinks it is copying a file you already have, it adds the digit (as in Cherish1) to the copy of the file. Which is why I would have expected cherish1.mp3 to be an exact copy of cherish.mp3. 

But if it’s not…well, it’s not.

The Create mp3 versions should play on the Fuze, regardless. If not, come back here and we’ll try some other tricks.

I’m a little old-school about computers. I like to see what’s going on. For convenience, modern computers tend to hide a lot of things from the user–like what kind of files you are playing, where they are stored, etc. When everything “just works,” that’s fine. You buy from iTunes Music Store, play on iTunes, transfer to iPod, all compatible.  But when it doesn’t just work, then you end up digging a little extra to find out what the heck is going on. 

If you’re at all curious about this, and have a Windows computer, there’s a cute little freeware geek program called the Gspot Codec Appliance that analyzes your files. Tells you what codec and a lot of other stuff.


You could use it to compare cherish.mp3 and cherish1.mp3 (There’s probably a similar program for Apple, but I don’t know what it is.)  But an easier comparison would be just to see what the two file sizes are. If they’re different, then they are probably different codecs. If they’re the same, and one plays and one doesn’t, then you have a puzzle.